Playground Design Software
Point, Click and Play
With the burgeoning field of computer aided design, many Landscape Architects are using this technology to design playgrounds. But, there is no need to buy a new computer program to take advantage of this opportunity. Many of the major playground manufacturers offer their own CAD plug-in software that works with AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT. In the following four pages, LASN asked the playground manufacturers to explain the benefits and requirements of their computer software . Most manufacturers suggest that you obtain the software from your local representative.
Kompan, Inc. has made a wide variety of design tools accessible to Landscape Architects to assist in planning play area sites. The most popular tool for Landscape Architects is the company's two dimensional plan view drawings. These plan views can be used in AutoCAD to incorporate scaled plans of Kompan play equipment into their design plan. Three dimensional models are also available for use with AutoCAD for several different product lines. Upon request, you can also receive, via e-mail, JPEG color-renderings of all Kompan's product lines.
The new DRAweb program is gaining popularity with Landscape Architects and customers alike. By logging onto the Kompan web site (www.kompan.com) and navigating to the DRAweb page, the user can create a three dimensional design plan by specifying the size of the proposed site, then selecting 3D KOMPAN products from an embedded database. The DRAweb allows the user to move play equipment around, experimenting with placement.
Miracle Recreation Equipment Company, a division of PlayPower, Inc., offers an array of custom CD-ROMs which are updated and supplied throughout each year.
The semi-annual World of Miracle CD for pre-qualified Landscape Architects contains every Miracle model's AutoCAD component, specifications doc, and Bill of Materials, in addition to hundreds of pre-designed standard units. Utilizing AutoCAD 14/2000 or AutoCAD LT '97/'98, designers can virtually create an infinite number of play systems using Miracle components, which range from park amenities to complete deck systems containing 405 degree slides, sight-and-sound panels, overhead climbers and more, sure to delight children of all ages and activity levels.
"Having the [World of Miracle CD] of Miracle play structures and part numbers allows us to 'create' the exact structure we need for a specific situation," says Chuck Lang, Landscape Architect for The Acacia Group in Tucson, Arizona. "Substituting components for our clients is a breeze with all the info that's on the CD."
Another CD-ROM which Miracle offers (through its sales reps) is the Fun Things for Kids Deck System Library CD, an interactive database with 2Ds, 3Ds & BOMs for hundreds of standard units, searchable by price, size, age range and more. A similar CD called Fun Things for All - Water Play features the company's pool slides, waterslides and other "wet works." Miracle also offers play system installers, a customized CD-ROM called Miracle Mountin', which contains installation instructions and other useful info for pros and amateurs alike.
Miracle's sales team is offered a custom-created AutoCAD training CD with video/audio clips of various functions, as well as quarterly releases of Miracle's Greatest Hits, containing specs, installs, AutoCAD components, and encrypted pricing files. Regular training sessions conducted by Miracle help sales reps understand and use the powerful software at their fingertips.
To request copies of "World of Miracle" or "Fun Things" CDs, contact your regional Miracle sales representative. To find a rep in your area, or to learn more about Miracle's products and services, phone toll-free 800-523-4202 or visit www.miracle-recreation.com.
Playworld CAD is a unique AutoCAD auxiliary menu system and Bill of Material program that has been custom designed to be an easy-to-use method in creating custom plan view layouts of Playworld Systems modular play components, as well as preliminary quotations. Playworld CAD is widely used by their world wide team of playground consultants and, with minimum product knowledge, can be used by design professionals throughout the industry to create their own custom Playworld Systems modular play unit. It is flexible enough to let you try different options and check pricing for each option to optimize the layout versus the budget.
This program is a Windows based add-on to AutoCAD LT release 97, 98, and 2000 or AutoCAD release 13, release 14, or release 2000. The user interface is based on intuitive pull down menus that describe the component and any specific conditions for its use. You select the desired component, place it, and orient it on the screen with a click of the mouse. A 'beginners' knowledge of AutoCAD is required to do commands that are features of AutoCAD such as erase, move, pan, and print setup. Although this software allows you to create drawings for your specific project, Playworld Systems must verify the accuracy and content of the layout before accepting an order. This verification includes component compatibility checks, determination that all necessary components have been included, and a review of the layout for action conflicts or clearance issues -- all necessary items to assure the maximum safety and integrity of the playground equipment.
Landscape Structures offers an AutoCAD plug-in program for designing playground systems. To obtain a copy of PlayCAD, contact your local Landscape Structures representitive by calling 888-4FUNLSI or log on at www.playlsi.com.
Allows a Landscape Architect to design their own play structure or take an existing design and modify it.
Expedites the entire design process: Landscape Architects can make changes from their own desktop, which speeds up Landscape Structures' ability to create site plans and three dimensional drawings.
Enables you to import a play structure drawing into your overall project plan.
Creates an itemized bill of materials, including concrete requirements and estimated construction hours.
Indicates safety zones for both the entire play area as well as for each component.
PlayCAD will "warn" the user if components are included that do not work with the given height. For example, PlayCAD would alert you if you tried to place a Summit Climber at a height lower than 64" or higher than 72". In addition, the program will advise you that some components don't fit on certain decks. The program highlights the challenge (at the bottom of the screen) and then asks if you still want to proceed. If the user so chooses, he/she can still add the component to the drawing.
Identifies footing hole locations and sizes
Provides a list of all material specifications
Requirements to use PlayCAD
Requires a working knowledge of AutoCAD. PlayCAD is based on AutoCAD's pull-down menu system.
Best if used in conjunction with the Landscape Structures catalog, to view photos of the components that are itemized on PlayCAD